Former NSO tuba player and personnel manager Dave Bragunier recently shared with us an interesting find in Maryland—a house once owned by the NSO's founder, Hans Kindler.
So you live in Columbia, MD in a nice house, but you would like to have a property with some more land. Quite by accident, you find out that a property has become available that fits your specifications. There are three acres of property with a vintage stone house from the 1700s.
There is one catch. In the back yard, there is a rather overgrown cemetery containing 20 or 25 graves.
This was the circumstance that led a music teacher and her mathematician husband to purchase the property known as Worthington's Quarter. Little did they know that the property was once owned by Hans Kindler, the founder of the National Symphony and that Kindler and some of his family were buried in the cemetery.
The house was built by the Worthington family in the 1770s and is one of the oldest houses in Howard County. Five generations of Worthingtons lived there and many of them are buried in the family cemetery in the back yard.
In the early twentieth century, the house fell into disrepair when the upper floors were used to store hay and a still was operated in the basement during prohibition. During the development of Columbia, the Rouse Company divided the property and repaired damage done by vandals, since the house had sat vacant for a number of years. In 2000 the music-loving couple became the owners. They were very gracious in inviting me to see the house and grounds.
Hans Kindler and his wife Alice purchased the house in 1936. Since Columbia was an extremely long commute in 1936, Kindler stayed in the top floor apartment of the Washington Arts Club on I street in downtown Washington when he was conducting the NSO. Alice, who was an artist, restored the house and added a stone kitchen. The Kindlers eventually joined the Worthingtons in the property's cemetery. The stone marking Kindler's grave is reminiscent of a cello case and the marker only gives his years with the National Symphony.
80 years later, the NSO is still going strong- we think Hans would be proud! Read more about Maestro Kindler and the history of the NSO here: http://www.kennedy-center.org/nso/history/